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On the last episode of The Rialto Report, we spoke to adult film actor and director, Paul Thomas, about the first part of his life. How he came from a wealthy background – one that owned household-name businesses, such as Sara Lee and Jim Beam – and how he was brought up in the lap of luxury. How he achieved success and fame on stage in musical theater, starring in Hair on Broadway, and in the 1973 film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. How he was snapped up by the prestigious William Morris Agency for a big career in mainstream television and movies. And how he started making adult films in San Francisco for the Mitchell Brothers.
If you haven’t heard the last episode, we recommend that you listen to that one first: this episode will probably make more sense if you do.
We’ve been wanting to interview PT for many years, but he finally agreed to this interview because of several questions that had been on his mind for decades: Why, when he had so many lucrative and socially acceptable alternatives, did he become one of porn’s most famous names? Why did he stay in the business for so long? And what effect has it had on him?
PT hoped that by re-visiting his past, he could perhaps reach some deeper understanding of it.
These are the provocations of PT.
This episode is 81 minutes long.
The musical playlist for this episode can be found on Spotify.
I can’t tell you how I’m excited to listen to this one. I’ve been counting down the days this week looking forward to this. Thank yoooooooo!
Thanks very much Dee – we hope you enjoy it!
Great Interview April. You have some way of pulling amazing things out in interviews. Kudos.
We really appreciate it Scott!
In my mind this two-parter has come close to completing a re-appraisal of Paul Thomas. He was always semi-aloof and distant in the movies, but hearing him talk has elevated him in my mind to one of the more interesting, idiosyncratic, strange even, and conflcited figures in the bizness.
I echo the comments from last week, and hope that he develops a platform on which to express himself in the future.
Fine interview indeed.
That was infuckingcredible.
April, between Ashley and yourself, I have not listened to or read better interviewers than the both of you! What a story, guided by your excellent line of questions!
Thank you so much for the kind words TM!
beautiful interview, sharp question fast answer, wise, love this project dear
Thank you as always Raimundo!
April Xcellent! ⭐️🏆🕺⚡️🤪😱 Paul Thomas Is he most interesting person in the world. Joey
The most 🤔🤩
Oh yes! We should put him forward for Dos Equis spokesman!
Quite possibly the best profile and interview of an adult film performer ever.
You might not agree or love PT, but this insight into his psyche is epic.
Congratulations to all.
Thank you Albi!
Great part 2. I confess that the criminal connections to adult films is a big reason that I am interested in this culture. Obviously not everyone in adult is a criminal, but it is a part of the history, right or wrong. This was a great human interest story. Thanks again!
You’re very welcome E King!
Loved every minute of this . PT is a fascinating and flawed figure, but hasn’t been challenged like this before. The result is pretty riveting. A similar take with Joey Silvera would be amazing, I’m sure.
Very interesting interview from a man with whom I wouldn’t want to spend two seconds
of my time.
Thanks April. Great job.
Thanks for listening Steve!
An excellant and revealing conclusion to the interview with PT. The interesting things that emerged from it to me were:
1. The themes PT was trying to explore as Director. It now makes better sense such impressive movies such as ‘Heart of Darkness’ (2003) about how turned on PT got at seeing how his girl is seen by other men and ‘Heartbreaker’ (2002) – about the urge to screw around when married or in a stable relationship, and how the sexual urge can overcome you;
2. How he looked down on a filmmaker like Radley Metzger who he regarded as a ‘Filmmaker’ but not a good ‘Porno Filmmaker’ was i think PT’s quote. Those who have seen the scorching kitchen scene between CJ Laing and Wade Nichols in ‘Barbara Broadcast’ (1977) or Terri Hall seducing Jamie Gillis in ‘The Opening of Misty Beethoven’ (1976) would disagree! They are both outstanding in their own way;
3. I am surprised that PT did not say anything about any attempt from him to be a legit director in the mainstream as his films from the mid 1990’s onwards stand up to a lot of Hollywood’s product but I wonder if that was down to him admitting that he was not committed enough, or that a major studio would not have been as forgiving as say Vivid were?
PT though is still the guy who made the best quality porn and with John Leslie, the industry produced stuff that for a time you thought Adult could go mainstream. Until Gonzo arrived………….
All I can say is, bravo, April.
We’re grateful Jerry!
Wow! Part 2 is better than Part 1. Thank you April for a great interview. Thank you P.T. for you honesty and openness.
Thanks so much for listening Craig!
Absolutely wonderful insight to the Golden Era and beyond.
Another classic! Fantastic interview. Reflecting on the fact that so many adult performers fell into hard times financially?
Paul seems to be one of the few, who made a lot of money, and was able to save for the future. Looking forward to many more great interviews April!
He’s confirmation of the old saying it’s easy to make money if you have it!
April, you are an amazing interviewer! (as is Ashley) I look forward to future podcasts. These two with PT were awesome! Please, please keep providing us with more great interviews with the Adult Stars of the past. Let us know how we can support you to keep going! Thanks for all you do! James
We’re very grateful James – thank you!
Wonderful and perceptive interview of an Adult film legend! My introduction to Golden age porn were the NIBO films shot in NYC during 1983-84. A veritable reparatory group of actors appeared: Jerry Butler, Joey Silvera, Honey Wilder, Annette Heinz. Paul Thomas was part of this group. I fondly remember his performances in Public Affairs, Piggys, Sex Spa USA, Pussycat Galore, many others.
Loved his story about his multiple arrests for trespassing, armed with dildos of diminishing size (“He’s getting better” – Judge. LOL!)
Glad you picked up on that Frank – we love that story too!
Hands down the best interview I’ve bet heard of an adult film star.
PT has an ego the size of Africa but this is who he is – and this interview gives us an insight into his entitled brain.
I enjoyed every minute of this.
I’ve listed to the whole she-bang (or should that be ‘he-bang’?) twice, and find much to enjoy. At first I was almost put off by Paul Thomas’ grandiloquent posturing, but then I accepted this for what it is: oral history at its best. This IS his industry view, and you don’t have to like him to recognize that he’s a unique and idiosyncratic figure.
There is no attempt to sugar coat him. Just allow the man to talk.
I love The Rialto Report.
Fantastic interview April, I remember emailing Ashley many years ago wanting a podcast with PT and he mentioned the story that you had started one but might possibly write his biography instead. I hope that still happens, but in the meantime, it’s wonderful to have these two amazing interviews. Brilliant work.
PT mentions doing his first film after coming out of prison in 1983 was a Harold Lime/Gary Graver production, and contained a scene with Shauna Grant in a hayloft. I’m wondering if he’s thinking of Summer Camp Girls in which he had a scene in a hayloft, but was with Danielle and Joanna Storm instead (Shauna does feature in this film as well though). It would be great to know to my favorite adult film of all time was his first after getting out of prison.
When can we expext an interview with Stacey Donovan?
Yet another superb human autopsy.
Thanks for your stellar work, April, and thanks to PT for his honesty.
You said it yourself. PT is such an enigmatic yet fascinating and legendary figure a two part podcast barely scratches the surface of his story.
You’ve done it again. You and Ashley are brilliant interviewers and writers and you always manage to weave a painstakingly complex narrative yet make it seem effortless. The time and effort you invest in your subjects is amazing and is always entertaining. Kudos again.
I need to point out Mr. Thomas and I share the same initials and “real” first name, two l’s for me and one for him. I’ve always enjoyed that little similarity.
Closet fan and first time replier here. What a great interview and podcast. I was born in 1971 and graduated high school in 1989. A neighbors dad growing up had huge porn collections and we would sneak magazines and later videos and watch them starting a very young age. This started my on a path of sexuality at a young age. I was exposed to a lot more than typical kids in the south at that time and I as a lot more sexual in my teen years than my friends because of it, lol. Seka, Marilyn Chambers, Linda Lovelace , Sharon Mitchell , Annette Haven, Behind the Green Door, Deepthroat and The Devil in Ms Jones along with the old Swedish Erotica movies are my first memories. In 1989 on a college wrestling trip we stopped by Times Square and BOOM… there was 42 nd street. I was literally like a kid in a candy store. I know it was past its prime by this point but to a kid from the rural south it was like a whole new world. I ended up taking a job In Nyc in 1991-1994 and spent a little time exploring what was left of the Deuce at that point. This podcast takes me down memory lane .Lately as a sit at my desk I’ll play the rialto report podcasts in the background. Needless to say it makes my office job much more enjoyable, lol. The quality and insight of these interviews are spectacular . I could literally just sit and listen to April read the encyclopedia and be enthralled. Clearly one of the best podcasts available regardless of genre! I would love for Ashley and April to interview each other on separate podcasts. Explaining their background, their history and interest in the subject matter and how doing these podcasts have affected them or their lives. For me they have become as much of the story as the interesting people they interview. Well Done… cant wait for the next podcast.
Thank you so, so much Mike for your memories and kind comments!